Can I Recover Property Sold to Others to Avoid Me Collecting on a Judgment?
If a transfer is created with knowledge of an impending claim, it is possible the transfer could be challenged as a fraudulent conveyance. For example, creating a trust right before filing bankruptcy may throw up red flags for examination.
The elements of a fraudulent conveyance transfer are defined as follows by the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act:
(a) A transfer made or obligation incurred by a debtor is fraudulent as to a creditor, whether the creditor's claim arose before or after the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred, if the debtor made the transfer or incurred the obligation:
(1) with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor of the debtor; or
(2) without receiving a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfer or obligation, and the debtor:
(i) was engaged or was about to engage in a business or a transaction for which the remaining assets of the debtor were unreasonably small in relation to the business or transaction; or
(ii) intended to incur, or believed or reasonably should have believed that he [or she] would incur, debts beyond his [or her] ability to pay as they became due.
A person is a bona fide purchaser for value (BFP) if the person, at the time of the transfer, did not have reasonable cause to believe that the property was subject to another's claim or was being sold for less than fair value to avoid creditors. A BFP is unaware of any fact which would cause a reasonable person to doubt on the right of the seller to have sold it in good faith. If the price was so low it would cause a reasonable person to investigate, the person may not be a bona fide purchaser for value without notice of impending claims. A BFP can claim good title against competing claims.
There are several types of liens, all of which could cloud the title and prevent the seller from conveying marketable title to the buyer. A judgment lien is created when a court grants a creditor an interest in the debtor's property, based upon a court judgment. The judgment lien is granted by the court after a petition for a judgment lien is filed, due to a judgment remaining unpaid. You may not simply serve the auction company with a copy of the judgment to create a judgment lien. A judgment lien can be filed if an actual judgment in a lawsuit is obtained from a court. Such cases include failure to pay a debt, including credit cards, bank loans, or deficiency judgments on repossessed vehicles. In some circumstances, judgments can be enforced by sale of property until the amount due is satisfied. A plaintiff who obtains a monetary judgment is termed a "judgment creditor." The defendant becomes a "judgment debtor." secure payment of the claim to the injured party. After the judgment creditor places a lien upon the attached property, the next step in the collection process is to conduct a sale of the attached property to satisfy the judgment debt. If a lien were placed on a home, the judgment creditor would then seek to foreclose on the property, in the same way a mortgage holder such as a bank would foreclose if it were not paid.
A judgment creditor may also request that the court issue a writ for garnishment of the debtor's wages. If granted, the court order for garnishment is served directly upon the debtor's employer, who must comply with its terms. Wage garnishment is a legal procedure governed by state law in which a person’s earnings are required by court order to be withheld by an employer for the payment of a debt and paid directly to the judgment creditor by the debtor's employer. There are different types of garnishments, as defined by state laws, which vary by state. A garnishment may be made on a one-time or continuing basis. Some kinds of income are exempt, which means that they cannot be garnished at all by creditors for consumer debts, including welfare, unemployment, veterans benefits, Social security, workers' compensation, pensions, and child support payments that you receive. For ordinary garnishments (i.e., those not for support, bankruptcy, or any state or federal tax), the weekly amount may not exceed the lesser of two figures: 25 percent of the employee's disposable earnings, or the amount by which an employee's disposable earnings are greater than 30 times the federal minimum wage.